No Ketchup in My Kitchen

Turkey Meatloaf

My office laughed at me, because I admitted there isn’t a bottle of ketchup in my refrigerator. It’s a condiment that isn’t hated or loved. Just a sweet bottle in every American kitchen, except for mine. The office conversation started, because I told them how ketchup packets were found ‘hidden’ in a kitchen drawer from a past delivery. My other half placed them there, and I knew to leave them alone. Packets of soy sauce, duck sauce, mustard, salt and pepper from previous delivery services are immediately thrown away, because we have better quality bottles in the pantry cabinet. It’s a better compromise, because a large bottle of unused ketchup sitting in the refrigerator is what I don’t want. Since, that office conversation, I’ve thought of buying ketchup, but mind changes when approaching the cash register.

Turkey Meatloaf

Because I didn’t want to use ketchup, it was a struggle to create this Turkey Meatloaf recipe. Ground turkey isn’t the world’s best meat. Here’s my honest opinion: Thanksgiving roast turkeys are overrated (unless they’re smoked). Hence, my belief of why ketchup is the perfect cover-up to most tasteless loaves of ground meat recipes.

Rosemary, Sage and Parsley

I wanted a savory meatloaf without the aid of ketchup. After repeated recipe fails, I learned the secret to meatloaf is in the right sweet sauce. And, it doesn’t always have to be ketchup. This turkey meatloaf recipe is topped with roast whole tomatoes with a dash of fennel seeds. Also, the ground meatloaf is cooked in a tart and sweet mix of pomegranate molasses and honey at the bottom of the pan. The sweet and tart flavors compliment a flavorful ground turkey meatloaf made with a fifty-fifty mix of ground white breast and dark, thigh turkey meat. Mix in large chunks of caramelize onions and mushrooms, minced fresh herbs, a touch of fennel seeds and this turkey meatloaf has more flavor and a better texture.

Chopped Mushrooms

My co-workers owe me an apology for their light teasing. My kitchen still lacks a bottle of ketchup. But, roast tomatoes spooned over Turkey Mushroom Meatloaf prolongs the inevitable purchase of ketchup.

Turkey Meatloaf with Roast Tomatoes

Turkey Meatloaf with Roast Tomatoes


  • 4 tbsp. olive oil; plus more for brushing loaf pan and seasoning the grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses, plus more for finishing the dish
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1-1/2 cups plain, fresh bread crumbs or ground almonds; plus more if needed
  • 1-cup low-sodium chicken stock; plus more if needed
  • 4 tsp. sea salt; divided, more or less to personal taste
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper; more or less to taste
  • 1 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper; to taste
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic; minced
  • 10 oz. fresh mushrooms (shiitake, bella and/or button); about 1/4” thick slice
  • 1/3-cup minced fresh Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh sage
  • (Optional) 2 tbsp. dry sherry or chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound ground dark/thigh turkey meat
  • 1 pound ground white/breast turkey meat
  • 32 oz./3 pints of grape-size tomatoes, left whole
  • 1 tsp. ground garlic
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/3-inch loaf pan with olive oil. Whisk pomegranate molasses, balsamic vinegar and honey in a medium bowl. Pour the pomegranate molasses inside of the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  2. Toss bread or ground almonds, broth and ONE teaspoon of salt in large bowl. Let stand until bread absorbs broth and softens for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil. After about 1 to 2 minutes or when the oil is hot, stir in the onion. Season with the second teaspoon of salt, black pepper, 1 tbsp. fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and smoked paprika. After about 5 to 10 minutes or when the vegetables are translucent, stir in the garlic and mushrooms. If the skillet is dry, add sherry or broth. If necessary, adjust seasoning. Frequently stir the skillet until the mushrooms are soft, for about less than 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, add the last two teaspoons of salt, fresh black pepper, fresh herbs, lightly beaten eggs, both ground turkey meat and cool sautéed vegetables from the skillet.
  5. Transfer meat mixture to the loaf pan. Gently shape the top into a mound. Place the meatloaf in the oven to bake for one hour and 30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into center registers 170°F. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
  6. Meanwhile, toss whole tomatoes with olive oil, 1 tsp. fennel seeds, sea salt, fresh black pepper and ground garlic over a foil-lined large baking sheet. Place tomatoes in the oven to roast for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until they’re wrinkled and slightly brown.
  7. Slice the Turkey meatloaf and transfer slices onto a large rimmed plate. Spoon tomatoes over the turkey meatloaf. Garnish with fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds. If necessary, drizzle with pomegranate molasses.


2 thoughts on “No Ketchup in My Kitchen

  • May 21, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    I love ketchup, but need to use it less often! This recipe looks tasty. Thanks for sharing!

  • May 17, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Thought you might be interested in trying this veggie-based low sugar ketchup: True Made Foods’ Vegetable Ketchup. It really is very good and may make you change your mind about a little ketchup!

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